sound is much more mature now. My singing has improved a lot
since the recording of Opium"
Read an interview with the leadsinger Jesper Palmqvist written
by Scott Mallonde (revoltzine.com) back in 1998.
You've released five singles from your new CD "Opium," which is
really quite a feat. How have the songs gone over in Sweden?
They have done well. The downside is that not only is Sweden a
small country of only 9 million people, but our genre is also
one of the least publicly appreciated. Therefore it is a
struggle selling enough CDs here. But despite these
circumstances, they have done well. We have very high hopes of
'Erina' going into the charts after its release September 21st.
Even if the scene in Sweden is small, I can guarantee you it
is only a fraction of the size in the United States. If it
weren't for A Different Drum, I am sorry to say that I probably
would have never heard your music. Has releasing your work in
the United States on A Different Drum had a major impact on your
popularity amongst the scene overseas?
Most definately. A Different Drum has meant a lot to us. Apart
from Todd being someone who really gets things done, having
something more abstract than just an import deal makes a huge
difference. It might not be that visible at first, since this is
a small scene, but like you said, it would be close to nothing
without A.D.D. It also helps in rasing some popularity here,
since the North American CDs are different, thus becoming a
target for buyers here in Europe via import.
On the 2 track single, "År Som Blad," you sing in Swedish. I
am a huge fan of multilingual music, so this one pleased me if
not only to hear the lyrics sung is Swedish. Have you ever
considered doing more tracks in your native language?
This is a problem. If we had more songs in Swedish, and focused
on that, we would not get much international attention, which is
needed to not stay totally unknown. As much as we also care for
multilingual music, it comes down to facts and feelings. Facts
are that Swedish consists only of a fourth of the words found in
English, so it is not unusual to lack words. Also, Swedish means
a very cruel directness. Itīs hard in poems and lyrics, since
you have to constantly found ways not to be flippantly direct.
So therefore we stick to English, even though we do have a
couple of songs in Spanish too.
I am assuming, then, that English is very common in Sweden.
As a general rule, how fluently does the entire population of
Sweden know English?
Hard to say a specific number, but it is very widely spread. The
only ones who donīt speak very well, might be very old people.
All people start studying English at the age of 9 or 10, and go
on until College doing so. Itīs just a second language, and it
helps tourists coming here a lot, I reckon. Itīs hard to find an
explanation as to why Swedish people know English well, in fact
generally far better than Norwegians and Danes. Most people
probably got so influenced by the British and the Americans over
the past half century, that they felt the need to speak their
When was your last tour?
The last proper tour was back in 94-95. After that we have went
on more random concerts around Sweden. It has not been something
we planned, to play live less frequently, it just happened. We
enjoyed the studio so much, we couldnīt leave.
Do you have a tour planned for the future?
Not at the moment, no. We will probably keep this up, playing
when we are wanted, and spend most of the time in the studio.
For live shows, many electronic bands seem to lack on the
element of performance. What does Kiethevez do to make a live
Actually, that is probably one of the reasons why we cut down
our concerts. We all had great ideas how to improve the show,
but it would take a lot of time preparing things, and a good
deal of planning. We didnīt feel we had that time, or should I
just say our priorities lay elsewhere. Studiowork,
videorecording, sideprojects etc. etc. And since we all feel if
people pay money to go and see you, you should give them
something special, we didnīt think it was fair to present
ourselves under those conditions. However, if a major tour is
planned in the future, that will become top priority. Such a
tour might be a reality, if these latest singles do well.
Do you remember any past shows that have stuck out? An
exceptionally powerful performance or a show that turned into a
One of the best memories must be from a few years back, when we
after a well performed and glowing concert got cheered back on
stage again for an encore, for the first time. The best memories
seem those from the beginning of our career, when everything was
so new. Our worst concert is without a doubt from '92, I
believe, when we were given a slot during the festivities of
graduation in early June. It was held in the concert hall of
Goteborg, and 1250 people sat in front of us. We came on stage
with two new songs, without a soundcheck and still being quite
new to concerts at all. It was just one long embarrasment, as
the PA system was crap, and no one barely heard
anything.Luckily, it was only two songs. I could hear people
talking to each other on the front row! We got over it quickly,
though. All publicity is good publicity?
I'm sure there is a story behind your name. I'm just not
quite sure of the details. Can you tell us how you chose the
Several stories exist. This is the most reliable one:
Back in '90, the name of the band was Yellowstone, an incredibly
tacky name. And with a concert coming up, we were thinking of
changing it. To that concert we made a song which amongst other
things contained a sampled voice saying some actors' names,
including Kiefer Sutherland and Emilio Estevez. But the old and
already tired Emax couldnīt handle that sample, and but the
thing up automatically, losing the part in the middle, ending up
with kie-tevez. After listening to it many times, we decided to
take it on as a name. Sure, it is a very obscure name, and
people rarely remember it, but it is still just a name. We need
to keep our priorities straight.
That's quite a unique way of selecting a name. Wasn't it
around that time when you first joined the band? Can you explain
how you became a part of Kiethevez, or as it was at the time,
Back then I was playing in another, more rock-oriented band. One
day in college they had heard I sang in a band, so they came up
to me and asked if I wanted to sing in their band at a concert
to be held in a few months. Their old singer was quitting, but I
think they wanted to get rid of him, because of his voice or
attitude or something. The problem was that he owned the PC and
some keyboards, I think. Thatīs probably why it took them so
long. But I am not sure about theses things. I have never really
gotten to know the whole truth behind it... I wonder why? Still,
I joined them, prepared for that concert and went on from there.
I should thank them, you know. After that first concert, I met
up with the most beautiful woman I have ever seen... Wouldnīt
have done it without them, I suppose.
You mentioned earlier that you enjoyed the studio so much,
you couldn't leave. Does this mean that we should be expecting
another Kiethevez release soon?
Yes. First now the two singles 'Erina' (Europe) and 'One Roman
Choir' (U.S.) will be released in September. After that we will
work as fast as we can to put out a new CD, we have many many
new songs, that we feel are much better than the ones on
'Opium'. Everything might happen. We might release it on our
own, since we lately have been disappointed with the promotion
work from October/Energy, our record company. It depends on how
well they perform this Autumn, with the singles.
What kind of evolutions or changes will be made with the next
Our sound is much more mature now. My singing has improved a lot
since the recording of 'Opium' thanks to singing lessons, and we
seem to have found a good mix between some guitars and all the
keyboards in front of us. Still, I do not think we will be
considered more easy-listening. Our new material seems more
difficult to adjust to, but worth the effort.
Interview by Scott Mallonde 9/3/98 (http://www.revoltzine.com)